I have told my children that unless there is a drastic change, I can’t recommend they send their children to public schools. It was a close call even for our last one, who is a junior this year. We regularly discuss the unabashed indoctrination attempted in his classes. Thankfully, we have taught him to think for himself, check sources, and not believe everything he is told. He appears to be doing that well so far. But we wouldn’t put up with this if he were not soon to graduate.
In today’s politically correct and intolerant climate, students with conservative values are increasingly ridiculed on college campuses, and even in high school. Leftist values are being taught, tested, and required for successful advancement.
I heard a conservative student comment that in sociology class he learned to “Say what people want to hear” on tests and in classroom discussion, because otherwise he would not get a good grade and would face ridicule from the instructor.
An education is supposed to open your mind to other possibilities and many points of view across a broad range of subjects. That was the purpose and definition of a “liberal” education, the kind fit for a free people. With that foundation, we are all in a better position to understand and respect one another, even when our opinions and values may be quite different. Persuasion and discussion about even emotional topics was more likely, which allows us to do our civic duty of deciding how to handle social problems.
Regrettably, a “liberal” education is now mostly taught by “liberals,” as defined by their progressive social values. A recent study by the National Association of Scholars that evaluated registered Democrat- and Republican-affiliated professors at top-rated liberal arts colleges found 39 percent of these colleges had no registered Republican professors. Zero. The rest had so few Republicans that 78 percent were essentially influence-free of right-leaning professors. This should scare everyone. Here’s why.
It’s The Schools, Stupid
I watched with disbelief during the 2016 presidential election cycle as candidates suggested outright Marxist and communist principles and proposals, and a large percentage of the population embraced them. It seemed even some of the Democrat candidates were shocked.
How could this happen? I am a scientist and have been trained in the art and science of finding the “root cause” of a problem. In this case, I believe the reason so many are open to policies, programs, and ideas that a very short time ago would have been unthinkable is because of a failure of our educational system.
Specifically, we have allowed a very limited viewpoint to become essentially the only thing taught. Since this has been the progressive viewpoint, it is entirely unsurprising that as time continues, more and more people will be open to these changes.
What does that mean? Some of us are very careful about what our children are allowed to be taught. My wife and I like a balance of all sides. Teaching one ideology with the idea there can be no other never works. Yet it is becoming harder and harder to follow the traditional route of education for our children and avoid their pure indoctrination.
Thinking Requires More Work
An intern worked for me several years ago and commented that she only reads The New York Times, as it was “the only paper that mattered.” I laughed, then realized she wasn’t joking. Any world where people think one source of information is sufficient is heading for trouble. This, of course, is how dictatorships control their population: controlling what they think by controlling what they are taught. We must check our sources to determine for ourselves what is truth and what is propaganda.
Take the above-mentioned study from the National Association of Scholars as an example. I saw the headline in the news and, as is typical for me, questioned the data. Before including it in this article, I did some research on the organization, who wrote it, what methodology they followed, who is influential in the organization, and their history.
I found them to be mostly credible, but also found references from left-leaning sites that try to discredit them. I was sufficiently satisfied of the objectivity of the study in the 30 minutes or so of research I did to include the data, and in fact found data I thought was even more compelling than what has been quoted in the media. Taking these steps takes a little bit of time, but it is required diligence for our liberties to remain intact.
I am worried for the future of our country. This isn’t actually something hard to figure out, and we have many examples from history of what is next if we continue down this path. At this point, with generations having been taught as truth viewpoints that are dangerous to our way of life, with no exposure to other ways of thinking, our way forward is going to be difficult.
The alternative, however, is even more difficult. I have faith and confidence in the American people that when taught correct principles, they will embrace them. Freedom is what made our country great, and it must be preserved.